Although we live in modern times, stigmas regarding gender identity cease to exist.
These biases are prevalent within various cultures. Male and female adolescents are stifled
from expressing themselves based on how they personally relate to their own femininity or
masculinity and sex roles. The cause of this constriction of emotions is due in large part to these
young people being coerced into obeying the rules of society. In addition, societal constructions
seem to totally disregard the physiological and biological aspects of adolescent puberty. We
acquire sexual orientation and gender identity during adolescence due to puberty, culture and
our surrounding environment.
For instance, puberty takes place over several years in which physical growth and
psychological changes occur, concluding in sexual maturity. The average onset of puberty is at
age 10 or 11 for girls and age 12 or 13 for boys. Physiological changes in body composition, the
individuals’ height and weight are some of the most significant parts involved in pubertal
maturation. Boys develop an adams apple, girls begin their menses, and the growth of pubic
hair begins to surface. These changes are influenced by hormonal activity. Hormones play an
organizational role, preparing the body to behave in a certain way once puberty begins. Puberty
begins with hormone production, which in turn causes a number of physical changes. This is
triggered by the pituitary gland which secretes hormonal agents into the blood stream, initiating a
chain reaction. The male and female gonads are subsequently activated, which puts them into a
state of rapid growth and development. The testes primarily release testosterone, and the ovaries
predominately release estrogen. The production of these hormones increases gradually until
sexual maturation is met. Each individual’s schedule for puberty is influenced primarily by
heredity. (Money, 1976, p. 197)
Another instance is, during adolescence the brain is not yet fully developed, yet goes
through changes which affect behavior and the decision-making processes. However, certain
characteristics are innate due to heredity. The biological make-up of both mother and father is
passed along to their offspring due to the genetic system comprised of an arrangement
of genes and DNA. In a book titled, “Behaviorism”, John B. Watson explains, “Many of the
most important features of development and of individuality result from the way the genes are
disposed in the cells, their actual physical arrangement and consequent behavior”. (2008, p. 52).
Adolescence is a time when young adults venture out and experiment to quell their curiosities.
Finding a sense of self and fitting in is of the upmost importance. This is the age when peer-
pressure falls into place. Legal and illegal substances are being sampled, sexual identity is being
discovered and the choices which are made may not be too pleasing to the parents of...